Now More Than Ever

Jim King

men on stage wearing suits and smiling

On a recent visit to Detroit I was pleased to meet with several Okuma customers, an activity that’s always a pleasure and provides many insights about the pulse of our industry. There was one piece of feedback I heard repeatedly from shops, and this involves our distributors.

As these customers were showing me the latest developments going on in their shops they told me, “Jim, the biggest reason we were able to accomplish this is because of the help we received from Gosiger. Without their expertise, leadership, and guidance in helping us select the right machine, plus auxiliary equipment like workholding and automation, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

This was not an unusual occurrence, since I tend to hear similar stories about all our distributors during my travels. But this recent experience was further evidence of a trend I’ve been noticing in terms of what machine tool customers are looking for in today’s manufacturing environment.

Taking Advantage of Distributor Resources

Long ago Okuma America made the decision to partner with independent distributors to sell and support our products. Our customers benefit from the 40+ years of partnership we have with the best machine tool distributors in the industry. I believe that customers value this now more than ever, and are taking advantage of the resources our distributors provide to a fuller extent.

One typical scenario we’re seeing is where distributors are being brought in to augment a customer’s engineering staff. There are two things driving this: one is the scarcity of qualified labor, and the other is the move toward more advanced manufacturing processes, especially automation. With this going on, it becomes more important than ever to take advantage of that trusted local advisor that the distributor has always been, and to deepen this relationship even further. Now more than ever, we find ourselves rolling up our sleeves and working alongside our customers to provide turnkey solutions along with reliable aftermarket support.

We Believe in Distribution

Many years ago I wrote an article titled “We Believe in Distribution” that outlined the reasons we remain committed to the distribution model and all the benefits this provides, including localized support, access to staff, and knowledge and understanding of your shop and your unique needs. These are all still hugely beneficial.

More Valuable Than Ever

Today our distributors are becoming more valuable than ever as they work in the trenches with our customers and go the extra mile to ensure they’re getting the most out of their machine tools. With automation coming into more shops, distributors are the helping hand that provides guidance and expertise every step of the way, from evaluating spindle utilization to specifying systems such as pallet pools and flexible manufacturing systems. All of these collective efforts are focused on helping our customers become more competitive.

Making a Difference

We believe Okuma’s distribution model and the difference this makes for customers is unique in the marketplace, and it should be celebrated. At a recent Distributor Meeting (pictured above) we celebrated this relationship and the successes we’re creating with our customers. If you’re not currently taking advantage of what we can offer, I encourage you to reach out to your Okuma distributor to see and feel the difference we can make.

About Jim King

Jim King is President and COO, Okuma America Corporation.
Connect with Jim on LinkedIn.

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